WASHINGTON -- According to Hillary Clinton, "the safety and well-being of Americans has to be our highest priority." Oh, really? That comment, proffered by our secretary of state Tuesday, is overshadowed by the serious jeopardy U.S. citizens now encounter thanks to the ideological blindness and national security incompetence of the Obama administration.
Since 2011 began, more than 20 Americans have been injured, killed or gone missing in the midst of violence in Lebanon, Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, Mexico and the Indian Ocean. American citizens are being held by government authorities in Iran, Yemen and Pakistan -- and by pirates in Somalia. Our State Department says it is "concerned."
Last week, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were ambushed in Mexico. Special Agent Jaime Zapata was killed, and his partner was grievously wounded. Mexican authorities now claim they have apprehended some of the perpetrators with "connections" to one or more drug cartels. The Obama administration, with its history of "slow rolling" counter-narcotics assistance to Mexico and doing next to nothing to protect our borders, is confronted now by news that a Saudi national has been apprehended in Texas with plans to attack sensitive U.S. infrastructure.
Last week, four Americans aboard the sailing vessel Quest were seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. A U.S. warship was ordered to the scene as the seaborne terrorists headed for safe haven in Somalia. If past is prologue, it should have ended like previous armed rescue operations conducted by U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Marines, South Korean navy commandos and even Russian and French special operations units -- with the safe recovery of nearly all hostages.
But in this case, our ships were inexplicably ordered to simply tail the captured yacht while an FBI hostage negotiator conducted a parley with the pirates. During the negotiations, all four hostages were killed. The Obama administration now says it's bringing the 15 captured pirates to the U.S. to "face justice" in a U.S. courtroom. Count on a "circus maximus" resulting in more of the "catch-and-release" program for terrorists.
In Pakistan, Raymond Allen Davis, an officially credentialed American with diplomatic immunity, is being held on murder charges at a notorious and often deadly detention facility in Lahore. Unnamed "U.S. officials" are widely quoted in international media claiming Davis is variously a "CIA officer," a "CIA employee" or a "CIA contractor." Any of these sobriquets are a virtual extrajudicial death sentence for an American held by anybody in Pakistan.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.